From Stamm’s joyous and deeply personal runway show to Viktoranisimov’s interactive presentation, here are some of the most noteworthy (and immersive) moments from Copenhagen Fashion Week’s spring-summer 2024 season.
Photography by James Cochrane, Bryndis Thorsteinsdottir, and Andrea Brandt.
Fashion week is a month’s worth of days. Copenhagen’s jam-packed schedule, viewed through a blur of fatigue and excitement, can feel like – well, a lot. A lot to soak in. A lot to unpack. A lot to dissect with articulate precision. Of course, there are so many ways to go about “doing” fashion week, but for me, there’s only one. And that’s with mindful curiosity. Think about it: Runway shows and presentations are the culmination of so much hard work. It’s the distillation of an infinite amount of ideas, dreams, and decisions – some as personal as diary entries – into mere minutes. It’s months and months of analyzing the past and through that, perhaps predicting the future.
This year, the operative emotion was nostalgia. A slew of designers looked to the past – to their parents’, grandparents’, or even their own – for inspiration. They revisited old stories, took in the seams and turned up the hems, to make new ones. At Saks Potts, best friends and founders Cathrine Saks and Barbara Potts revisited their favorite childhood stomping grounds and built a collection around the nostalgia of summer. Finnish-Swedish designer Rolf Ekroth tapped into his generations-spanning cultural heritage, and Stamm mined her childhood memories for imagery and emotions that would inform every piece of garment. On the runway, story after story rushed out.
In an exact opposition to that premise, other designers looked to the future, predicting what the world might look like years from now. Even in an entirely utopian world, the topics addressed got close to the bone, raising all kinds of real-world questions. These stories, nested within the narrative frame of fashion, were irresistible to watch, and even more importantly, interact with. Now that I’m back in Los Angeles and have had time to digest every amplified and muted detail, I want to share some memorable moments from runway shows and presentations – and reflect on what they mean now.
1. Stamm: Dreaming of Pure Childhood Joy
Many people have cherished memories of being children, but few can harness them the way Elisabet Stamm has for her craft. This season, Elisabet mined the moments, big and small, that have shaped her into who she is: who she was friends with, what she listened to, how she loved animals and fell in love with horseback riding, and how she dressed (which was, unsurprisingly, different from everyone else).
Pulling imagery – sometimes, literal photographs – from her childhood, Elisabet presented a fast-paced collection of generously oversized athleticwear, all played out in a basketball court divided by crisscross mesh. Think: side-stripe joggers, nylon pants, athletic shorts, and leather outwear, draped with chunky chains. The colors were joyously playful, but it was the energy of the show that most significantly captured a carefree, youthful attitude.
What I loved most: Elisabet’s ability to rev up the energy. Toward the end of the show, Scandinavian-Syrian rapper Silvana Imam put on a performance that enlivened the crowd. Air horns! Applause! Cheers! Elisabet’s collection filled the court with an overwhelming force and urgency, but it was also delicate. The details mattered.
2. Marimekko: Living in Color
Marimekko is like a dish of jello. It’s the visual representation of lightness – a melt-in-your-mouth type of happiness achieved with a certain kind of precise science that’s hard to define. It’s a model of superb, seven-decades-long engineering, and colorful indulgence. Yes, that’s how long the Finnish brand has been around. Since 1951, to be more specific, when Armi Ratia started the design house in her husband’s textile company, hoping to brighten up women’s postwar wardrobes with splashes of color and energetic prints.
Marimekko’s spring-summer 2024 was a celebration of that history: the 60th anniversary of the brand’s most iconic print, Unikko. In the courtyard of Designmuseum Denmark, surrounded by climbing vines, gorgeous greenery, and a throng of umbrellas, large-scale versions of the brand’s signature flower bloomed from the ground. The setting was wonderfully joyful – and so was the collection. Utilizing new techniques and placement, Creative Director Rebekka Bay reimagined the longstanding motif on blouses, skirts, relaxed shorts, and dresses that felt very romantically evocative.
What I loved most: How Marimekko honored its storied past through a new lens, all while staying true to its heritage and undeniably recognizable aesthetic. With this collection, Rebekka proved that Marimekko is impervious to trends – and maybe even time itself.
3. Deadwood: After a Cataclysm
The Stockholm-based brand was founded in 2012 by Carl Ollson and Felix von Bahder, who met while working at a denim store in the city. They clicked over a shared vision – a vision that turned into a vintage store. Called “Deadwood,” the secondhand shop became a sought-after purveyor of rare finds and treasures. From there, Carl and Felix were inspired to create a lineup of jackets made from panels of recycled leather, combining a classic love-worn feel with grunge-inspired touches.
In looking at what they put together for their first-ever runway show, it’s safe to say that the duo has come a long way. Like something out of a science-fiction novel, Deadwood’s runway show catapulted audiences to a dystopian future – a desolate, arid earth left to run dry of natural resources. The models roamed this land – marked by tattered and sewn-together drapery and dappled lighting – dressed in clothing made for a harsh environment. Natural materials, earthy palettes, and lots of leather came together to form the uniform of a changed earth. Boasting lace-up fastenings, abundant hardware and buckles, outerwear was executed with a slick eye and attention to detail.
What I loved most: Creative styling gave every look a distinctly otherworldly vibe during the show, but when taken apart, every piece felt cool and wearable. I loved how delicate fabrics like mesh intermingled with tough materials like leather, and how abbreviated jackets and hooded elements lent the collection an of-the-moment appeal.
4. Rolf Ekroth: Rose-Tinted Nostalgia
“I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden.” Ever since I heard the song at Finnish-Swedish designer Rolf Ekroth’s spring-summer show, it’s taken hold of my mind – and it’s been refusing to let go. I’d like to believe it’s all for good reason; the song, set as the backdrop to a thoughtful, nostalgia-filled collection, was something to remember. The whole experience has burrowed into my consciousness – thanks to Rolf’s creative prowess.
Titled “Missing,” the collection reflected the designer’s generations-spanning cultural heritage, pulling inspiration from his family’s memory books – his grandparents’, parents’ and his own yearning of decades past. This translated to utilitarian aprons, workwear dresses, hunting jackets, and Babushka-style headwraps. Roses were central to the collection and appeared consistently in prints, and on pockets and woven pendants that referenced traditional Nordic handcraft. Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the showstopper of the collection: a blazer-and-pants ensemble with a rope-net overlay woven with real roses.
What I love most: Rolf’s studied-down-to-the-last-stitch craftsmanship was evident throughout the techwear-inflected outerwear he presented during the show. However, aside from his immaculate tailoring, I absolutely loved how Rolf carried forward his cultural heritage in a way that felt new and exciting and chock-full of tug-at-your-heartstrings moments.
5. Hedvig: Astronomical Elegance
Walking into the bright-and-airy space of Martin Asbaek Gallery for Hedvig’s spring-summer presentation felt like walking into a chapel of sorts; there’s a distinct, sacred hush that washed over me. Throughout this intimate viewing of the collection, a handful of us stood and watched as the models gracefully walked to and fro their designated mark, their footsteps echoing across the hall. It was a beautiful spectacle – and not just because the garments themselves were so elegantly constructed. It was a triumphant coming together of silhouette, space, sound, and story.
When dreaming up the collection, designer and co-founder Sofia Järnefelt found inspiration in her grandfather’s old maps and astronomy books, in the simple shapes and lines used to convey a whirling galaxy. Like a planet in its orbit, models stood in the middle of a large black circle, the curves of which were subtly incorporated throughout the garments. Think: oversized, round belt loops, semi-circular panels, and asymmetrical hemlines. Elsewhere we saw ruffle-sleeve shirting, elasticized waists, and more ruffles that climbed down dresses like a vine. Everything moved with ease and precision in equal measure.
What I loved most: The Helsinki-based brand’s blend of asymmetry, volume, and twist. I admire how Sofia was able to take not-so-basic basics and elevate them even further with subtle and clever design details. A personal favorite: the classical silhouette of a trench coat, deconstructed into a set, with unfinished hems and startlingly blue opera gloves adding an element of surprise.
6. Viktoranisimov: Military-Inspired Utilitarianism
Inside the Apollo Bar – an artsy cafe found in the courtyard of the historical cultural institution Kunsthal Charlottenborg – we were invited to observe a team of models, photographer, and Ukrainian designer Viktor Anisimov himself as they prepped and shot garments for the brand’s lookbook. Viktor shuffled in and out of view, stepping in to tinker with a collar, unzip a coat, and help models into various outerwear pieces. Between shots, a model came up to me and asked if I wanted to see his jumpsuit’s superpowers and how they function: the press-stud tab at the stand collar, the large patch pockets, and transformative zippers. Of course, I did!
With an army background, it’s no surprise that Viktor’s work has a utilitarian aspect that is informed by military gear. Paying homage to the heroism of Ukrainian defenders through silhouette, function, and color, Viktor’s collection was chock-full of well-crafted utilitarian pieces. In a palette of mostly army greens and reds, the styles ranged from convertible bombers and coats to roomy basics, accompanied by large pockets, buttons, and zippers that gave each piece tremendous versatility and functionality.
What I loved most: Before you wonder, no, it wasn’t a “real” shoot, but it made us feel like we were a part of the designer’s creative process nevertheless. I loved being able to touch and interact with the clothes, all of which oozed practicality without compromising the relevance factor.
7. Fine Chaos: Immersive Dystopia
Am I in the right place? A disquieting thought bloomed inside my mind as I journeyed through a corrugated steel maze of shipping containers and hodgepodge of, well, stuff. A cluster of fluorescent light fixtures. Large accordion tubes snaking into each other. Ladders sleeping on their sides. The only markers that reassured me I hadn’t made a wrong turn: the host who checked me in and the haphazardly taped markers on the ground pointing me in the right direction. It all felt like a movie set – or an elaborately produced escape room that immediately pulled me into a different universe.
For its spring-summer show, the brand laid out a path for humanity in a post-apocalyptic, resource-depleted future ruled by Goliath corporations. In this “world,” some 49 years from now, Fine Chaos acts as a fantasy villain, governing society under its own legal system. The runway show, tucked inside a warehouse decorated with decaying plants, further elaborated on the theme with a collection that leaned heavily on gothic overtones. Think: shredded denim, printed tees, and zippers and piercings galore. (One of my favorite looks was a patchwork gown that expertly mixed femme with grunge). At the head of the runway, a hooded figure (the lead singer of “Kind Mod Kind”) flooded the space with an unbearably ethereal falsetto, as a curtain of rain came down on him cold and steady. Impressive.
What I loved: The power of Fine Chaos’ immersive storytelling. There was so much attention to detail that went into creating the show’s multi-layered, multi-sensory experience – from the eerie shipping container that housed the fictional corporation’s leather-bound, scorched bible of governing laws to the TVs displaying a dystopian newscast. I loved that the experience began long before we stepped inside the runway space, which in itself was so well themed, I almost lost sense of reality.